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Stimac appointed as the new head coach of India

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London: Former Croatia international Igor Stimac has been appointed as the new coach of the Indian men’s national team, after the AIFF’s (All India Football Federation) Executive Commitee ratified the recommendation by the Technical Committee.

Stimac, who coached Croatia previously in a 15-month spell, will now succeed Stephen Constantine and has been signed on a two-year-contract.

“We have chosen Croatian Igor Stimac from the interviews. Every committee member and AIFF members questioned him and got a satisfactory reply. His preparation for Indian football is impressive. He has knowledge about the country. He is good so we all have decided to appoint him as the new head coach.

 

“The other candidates were also good. Swedish coach Hakan Ericson was also impressive. We also spoke with Albert Roca. We ultimately found Igor to be the best candidate out of these four,” said Shyam Thapa, chairman of Technical Committee, had told Goal last Thursday.

Stimac, Albert Roca, Lee Ming-sung and Hakan Ericson had been the four final candidates shortlisted for the job by the AIFF after an extensive search with the Croatian emerging the winner after the interviews were conducted.

The 51-year-old had previously taken charge of the Croatian national team in July, 2012 before resigning from his role in October, 2013. During his spell in charge of Croatia, Stimac guided the team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying play-offs.

Apart from his national team coaching experience, Stimac has also won laurels at the club level. He led his hometown club Hadjuk Split to the Croatian First Football League title in 2004-05 while also taking the side all the way to the final in the Croatian Football Cup in the same year.

His most recent coaching stints have come in Asia with Sepahan in Iran and Al-Shahania in Qatar.

The former defender also has 53 caps as a player for Croatia between 1990 and 2002 and represented the national team during the 1998 World Cup in France. Stimac’s central defensive partnership with Slaven Bilic was crucial to Croatia’s dream run to the 1998 World Cup semi-final.

The former Croatia international had stints in England with Derby and West Ham as a player and went on to gain cult status at the former.


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TRAU FC qualify for I-League, beat Ozone FC to win second division league

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NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) lauded Manipur club Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC for winning the Hero 2nd Division League 2018-19, and qualifying to the next edition of Hero I-League.

They are the second club from the state after NEROCA FC, to have qualified for the Hero I-League from the second tier in three years.

TRAU FC defeated Ozone FC 2-1 at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal to clinch the championship with one match left. The Manipuri side has amassed 15 points from five matches (so far), whereas second-placed Chhinga Veng FC are on 10 points having played an equal number of matches.

 

Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League said: “Congratulations TRAU FC for the achievement. I’m sure the Hero I-League will be more competitive and challenging next season with their inclusion. I wish them all the best for the next endeavour.”

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I want more responsibility at PSG or elsewhere: Mbappe

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London: Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has thrown his future at the club into doubt by claiming he has reached what he sees as a “turning point” in his career.

Speaking after accepting the Ligue 1 Player of the Year Award this evening, the 20-year-old French international suggested he would like a bigger role going forward after claiming the Ligue 1 title with PSG this season.

However, Mbappe said that role could come either at PSG or “maybe somewhere else”, casting his future into doubt while hinting that he could leave the club in search of a new challenge.

 

“Of course there were some disappointments [this season] but it’s part of football, we managed to win this league,” he said after accepting the award on Sunday.

“I would like to thank the players, the coach, the club again. It’s important for me because I come to a first or a second turning point in my career.

“I discovered a lot of things here. I feel it’s time to have more responsibility. I hope it may be Paris Saint-Germain, it will be with great pleasure, or it may be elsewhere for a new project, but I would like to say thank you.

Mbappe went on to clarify his comments when asked if he was saying that he wasn’t guaranteed to stay at PSG next season.

“I said what I had to say. When you are in such an occasion you can send messages, I think I have sent mine,” he said.

“If I speak more it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send.”

Mbappe joined PSG in 2017 from Monaco, having won the league the season prior.

Since joining the club, Mbappe has won the league twice while also claiming a Coupe de France and a Coupe de la Ligue title.

Mbappe, who was a part of France’s World Cup-winning team in 2018, has scored 59 goals in 86 matches for the club while leading the league in scoring this campaign with 32 goals in Ligue 1 play and a total of 38 in all competitions.

Those achievements helped him claim the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award as well as the Young Player of the Year award.

“This is the only trophy I missed,” he said.

“I would first like to dedicate it to the president, Nasser [Al-Khelaifi], who is watching us, I know he had a tragedy this year so I would like to pay tribute to him, he has always been an honest man with me from the first day until today.

“I would also like to thank all the people who are here. It is the fourth year that I am here in this league.

“I have lived a lot many things that are rich in emotion: AS Monaco, where I was trained, where we managed to win the title, then Paris Saint-Germain for a totally different project, where I managed to adapt from the first year, to change positions this year.”

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Asif Ali’s daughter loses battle with cancer

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Islamabad: Pakistan batsman Asif Ali’s daughter, who suffered from stage four cancer, died in a hospital in the United States , Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Islamabad United has said.

Ali is currently on tour with the Pakistan national team in England and played in the 54-run defeat by the hosts in their final one-day international of the series.

“ISLU family pays its deepest condolences to @AasifAli2018 on the tragic loss of his daughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family,” the PSL franchise said on Twitter on Monday.

 

“Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.”

Dean Jones, who coached Islamabad to the PSL title last year, also sent his condolences to the cricketer’s family. “On behalf of my family and the @IsbUnited players and families… we send our condolences and love to @AasifAli2018 and his family on the passing of his beautiful daughter,” Jones said on Twitter.

Jones had broken down in tears at a media conference in March when talking about Ali and his daughter’s condition.

The 27-year-old Ali was not named in Pakistan’s World Cup squad but made the 17-man group for the series in England where the middle-order batsman hit two half-centuries in four innings.

Former captain and chairman of Pakistan’s selection committee Inzamam-ul-Haq said last month that Ali could be drafted into the side before the World Cup.

Teams have until May 23 to submit their final squads for the tournament which begins on May 30. Pakistan’s first game is against West Indies on May 31.

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